Brainerd lost two men on Monday who exemplified the spirit of service to their community - Warren Williams and Frank Asplund.
Both cared passionately about their community but never publicly demonstrated stridency or anger in the pursuit of their goals. They were respectful of others' opinions and good-humored in their dealings.
Williams, known to most people as the head of Citizens State Bank (which became Bremer Bank), was also a huge behind-the-scenes player. His service on boards and committees included the St. Joseph's Foundation's Heart of the Community Campaign, St. Joseph's Medical Center, St. Joseph's Foundation, the Central Lakes College Foundation, Salvation Army, Brainerd Family YMCA, the Central Minnesota Initiative Foundation and a fundraising effort for the College of St. Scholastica. For this and more he was named 1997 Brainerd Citizen of the Year.
Asplund, a Brainerd businessman, took the time to serve on the Brainerd City Council for 14 years. Colleagues who served with him remembered his common sense, his caring attitude and his sense of humor - all useful characteristics of a leader.
Williams and Asplund certainly weren't alone in their willingness to give back to the community. However, their passing might prompt us to deliver a word of encouragement or thanks to the men and women who don't sit on the sidelines when there are worthwhile projects to be done in the Brainerd area.
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